Piroto People – Louise Barge

When ‘Black Monday’ hit worldwide share prices, plunging the UK into economic chaos, very few people were left unaffected, including Louise. At the time, she was working as a sales supervisor in a local company supplying commercial equipment. Times were tough for her employer and employees were forced to take a pay cut. Naturally Louise began the search for a new position.

Louise joined Piroto in 2010 as sales office supervisor; overseeing an internal sales support team of four, including Elaine Redding.

Within a matter of weeks Louise was handed her first big challenge. As part of the ‘Unity’ project team she was responsible for improving sales and administration processes and embedding them into Piroto’s new Management Information System (MIS) system. Louise remembers the task not altogether fondly, but it certainly helped her get to grips with Piroto’s detailed processes and procedures.

Over the years Louise took on more responsibility and developed a close working relationship with her team, as well as the external sales team. Her meticulous attention to detail and desire to help customers meant that, in 2015, she was asked to take on a customer account management role as well as her supervisory duties. In fact, Louise managed Piroto’s single largest customer at this time, overseeing the specification, production and delivery of literally millions of loyalty stamps for loyalty programmes worldwide.

In 2017 when Piroto’s sales manager, Andy Clarke, was looking to strengthen his team of external account managers, Louise was an obvious choice. Louise remembers when MD, Leigh Mann and Andy approached her about taking on the role. She said ‘ I was thrilled to be asked to join the sales team, but daunted too’. She added ‘I knew it would be my biggest challenge yet. I would need to increase my tag and labelling knowledge, plus learn more about our customers’ businesses.’  Louise, knowing she’d be supported by the Piroto team, decided to take the plunge; she has never looked back!

Louise recalls a particular new business venture in 2021 that tested her knowledge and organisational skills. During that year the introduction of Natasha’s Law, a UK Food Information Amendment named after the teenager who tragically died following a severe allergic reaction to a pre-prepared sandwich, meant customers offering prepacked food for direct sale must clearly label allergens. Louise was part of the team that included technical manager, Dermot Cassidy, Andy and Leigh that trialled no less than seven different label materials, before whittling it down to three allergen labels to fully trial in-store with our customer. The sheer size of the order plus the logistics involved into successfully rolling out the labels to over 2000 outlets, in the middle of the Covid pandemic, meant this was a project that Louise was proud to play a vital role in.

You can read our Natasha’s Law allergen label case study here.

Looking back over her 13 years at Piroto, Louise reflects on the good times and the tough times she has experienced. She is grateful for the opportunity she has had to learn, and develop her career. She said ‘Piroto has always been a very supportive workplace. I don’t think I would have been encouraged to progress so far anywhere else.’ She added, ‘ the whole team are always kept in the loop, including regular updates on how the company is performing. It’s good to know that hard work and effort are recognised and rewarded.’

You can read Piroto’s full 50 year story here.